“I’ve been saying for weeks now — I said it before the Producers Guild; I said it after the Producers Guild; I even said it after SAG. I’m saying it again: ‘The Shape of Water’ is and always was the Best Picture frontrunner, so etch it in stone. There’s no mystery about this anymore,” Zach Laws concludes at the start of a slugfest (watch above). He joins fellow Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow, Kevin Jacobsen and Charles Bright shortly after Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday.
“The Shape of Water” went into the nominations announcement with the Producers Guild Award and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture; “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had under its belt the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, which was generally seen as a slightly superior combination, although not to Laws. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had sat atop the Gold Derby odds based on users’ aggregate predictions before nominations, but it now trails “The Shape of Water” in the wake of Martin McDonagh’s snub in Best Director.
Best Documentary Feature is another race that has been upended, with the snubs of top-ranked contender “Jane” and third-ranked “City of Ghosts.” Jacobsen explains, “ ‘Jane has been cleaning up with all of the guilds and critics and everything and was definitely the frontrunner in my eyes because it was also about a real-life person, like [the last two winners] ‘Amy’ and ‘O.J.: Made in America.” Charlie adds, “I think ‘Faces Places’ is probably out front, which would make [co-director] Agnès Varda one of the few people that’s won an honorary award and a competitive award in the same year.”
“The Post” seemed tailor-made for the Oscars, but it received only two nominations. Chow quips, “Meryl Streep — she’s always nominated for something that gets one other nomination, but twist! This time, it’s Best Picture.” Laws highlights the snub of John Williams’s original score as particularly telling about the apathy toward the film, especially since they instead nominated his composition for “The Last Jedi.” He asks, “Can you name me one piece of original music from the new ‘Star Wars’ movie that wasn’t in the hundred other ‘Star Wars’ movies before it?”
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